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Member Service improvements

aspirant


giffgaff is growing... very fast, which is fantastic news. I wish I could share with you exactly how well we're doing but as we've said before it's too commerically sensitive to reveal our exact numbers. Suffice to say we are well ahead of where we thought we'd be at this stage.

However success does bring with it its own set of problems. One of those is that in last 3 months we have seen a very large increase in the volume of account related queries, and port in requests - due to all those new members coming on board.

Port in requests in particular are very manual and time-consuming to process. This has put a lot of pressure on our valiant Member Service agents - who deal with both queries and ports.

In addition, new Ofcom regulations are about to come in (from April 11th) which require all mobile companies to process port in and port out requests twice as fast as they do currently. Again, this is great news for giffgaff (anything that makes it easier and faster for customers to leave mobile compnaies that are failing them is all right with us). But it does mean we have to make sure we can deliver against these timelines.

So to maintain service levels, and fulfil our obligations to Ofcom we are making some improvements to our Member Support operation.

1) Port in process improvements. From April 11th new Ofcom regulations  mean that port in requests must be completed within 1 working day (currently it is 2 working days).

In order to make sure we can do this we are bringing on a small team of new agents who will focus exclusively on ports.The new thing for us is that these agents will be based in India. Both the India and the Derry based agents are provided by the same supplier. So we have complete consistency in approach and management between the two sites. I have personally visited the team in India and can absolutely vouch for their commitment to customer service and professionalism, I look forward to having them join our extended team.

The main reason for locating these porting agents in India is cost. As a low cost business giffgaff needs to keep its operating costs low, and India is a cheaper location than Derry. However we also get a potential benefit from the time difference. India is 5 and a half hours ahead of the UK, so as a unified team it means we have the option of having a working day that starts at 4am UK time. This means we have greater flexibility to turn ports around in the required timeframe.

Having the Indian team focus exclusively on ports also means that the Derry team can focus on account queries - which are typically more complex individual cases which require a deeper understanding of giffgaff operations. To head off a question that I'm sure some will ask... this does not mean that we are looking to move the entire support operation to India in the future. We may expand their remit beyond ports by the end of this year, but we will always keep the Derry team as we recognise that service is not all about cost. There is a benefit for members in having agents who are closer to the core business, and that will not be compromised.

We are currently setting up and training the Indian team on the port process. The first day of porting being handled by the Indian team will be April 4th. Once they are all up and running I will introduce our extended team in the same kind of way we did last year.


2) More agents in Derry. Since we introduced the agent team to the communuity at the end of last year we have increased the Derry team by 30%. Given the recent continued increase in our customer numbers we are going to increase the team again by another 20%. Our new recruits will start in the first weeks of April, and I'll introduce them when they are on board.

3) Longer 'opening times' for agents. We have looked at the trends of when account queries are submitted and are changing our shift patterns for Derry agents, to better cover the periods of peak demand. This also means that we can be more efficient - which in turn means we can extend the overall the time the agents are online.

From Saturday 26th March Derry based agents will be available until 10pm seven days a week (currently they finish at 7 pm).

These changes will mean that we can keep giving members a brilliant personal service even as we grow rapidly as a business.

Thanks

338 Comments
phenomenon
@gawright their cheap because they are crap most the time, and it depends for someone like me buying for personal use its completely different to a company buying in bulk to sell at a profit here, or using people in other countries as staff for a few quid a day and making profits from an expensive country like the uk. Anyway im off to sleep now need to get up for work in the morning before my jobs shipped abroad.
I ate the FAQ

Well , reading 14 Pages of  that passed a good few minutes ...... 

tutor

Thanks for the update giffgaff first of all.

 

The important issue here is that Ofcom has forced giffgaff into making a decision about porting latency. I personally think it's worth a try as long as it's only porting and doesn't creep into other aspects of the business. Anyone who has dealt with Sky support out of hours in the past would surely know that overseas call centres leave a very poor experience. No phone conversations should mean it's less prone to typical problems associated with overseas call centres.

 

Good to see that giffgaff is growing whether that means a few jobs overseas - it still means that they are well on course to stand on their own feet without O2 financing the way things are going which will benefit us all. We extol the virtues of giffgaff and have to rely on their judgement in this case as they are far better placed to make that decision having figures to hand and should support them and the new staff (UK or Indian) as much as we can. Of course, if things don't go well giffgaff will hear of it and this isn't a choice that cannot be undone should things not go to plan but need to give them a chance to get it to work for all our benefit and that of giffgaff. :)

 

We do want jobs to stay in the UK but giffgaff have to make a sound business judgement. Would anyone want to pay higher call or goodybag charges to fund higher wage demands for possibly no tangible return in customer experience? Can't pin the state of the country on low-cost operators like giffgaff; the UK manufacturing sector died years ago and became very much a support-based economy.

 

One thing that does irk me is the constant reference to Derry -  it's Londonderry!!! ;)

student

Thanks for my reply GG, and thanks for all those who replied. 

 

I agree giffgaff is a low cost company, but it makes me sad that it could be just the start of a plan to undermine the UK team. After all GG is a business and although they are meant to be the PPN they won’t be 100% open with us, there will always be things that GG don’t want us to know and long term plans, remember they are a company from Telefonica who have to make money for Telefonica.

 

I believe that It’s just the start of a slippery slope, look at how the country was lied to over the Kraft/Cadbury takeover. Kraft saying they would keep the UK factories open then once they bought it closed some and shipped them to Poland. We live in a great country, which has achieved many things, I am not racist but I am proud to call myself British. Some of you may not some of you may.

 

I have had terrible with call centres and email support abroad... (it’s not just India) Amazon, Three, BT, Banks etc. I have never had a good experience. I always make an effort to ask how they are and be polite, even start up a conversation. But It was one of the main reasons I left 3 as i had noticed you never went through to a customer satisfaction system if your problem was not solved or they could not fix your problem, you would get a phone call after the event to bully you into saying the problem had been resolved. Now you may say 'Yes but it’s not a call centre' but then a I said before it’s just the start, GG might have to find other cost saving measures and this is just the plan to put a foot in the door, I can see a post where Vincent says “Oh as the Indian Staff have done so well we have decided to move our operations to India, and we have added 50 minutes to the £25 Goodybag.”

 

I don’t know maybe I am being cynical but I am finding GG to be more bullish these days and a bit faceless. It kind of is going against my ethics. Maybe Vodaphone could start one up that’s environmentally friendly, gives money to charity, has good rates and is proud to be British or am I dreaming?

mentor

Proud of an accident?  How rare!

steward
Good morning all. Still annoyed over this but doubt that will influence anything. @coloncancer ? Richard
phenomenon
@rhino read my link a few pages back about plusnet.
mentor

Rich - someone said they were proud to be British.  Being British (or any other nationality) is nothing more than an accident of birth.  You didn't plan to be born in that country, nothing (in the vast majority of cases) influenced it.

 

Totally beyond their control - it would be akin to being proud of the sun or moon.  If someone must be proud then at least be so over something they have achieved.

 

student

@coloncancer

 

I am proud of our morals, our past, our society, we have alot of good and bad history, we believe in fairness and equality. It might not apply to eveyone but I still feel a sence of community where i live and a place where people are neighbourly. We are proud of or area and take responcibility for it. We are not all capitalists or trying to rob the land and people of goodness. I can be proud any way i like. Yes i was born but i try to put back, help others etc and thats what i get back in return from the vast majority of people. 

mentor

Nobody is trying to stop you being proud of that, just some of us find it odd (especially being proud of the british past - an empire that pretty much raped the east of all its resources, got a nation hooked on opiates etc.  I'm well aware that there were also positives, but the "empire" has a lot to answer for).

 

I'm proud of bananas - they are feck all to do with me (just like your list of things), but those little yella-fellas don't half make me smile.

 

But to say "we believe in fairness and equality" isn't correct - some british people do, as do some indians and some americans, some french etc etc.  Some british (and indians, americans, french, etc etc) people believe in the very opposite.  There are diverse opinions across all nationalities and races.